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Afternoon Of A Faun at the Royal Opera House (Photo: Bill Cooper)

10 things you didn’t know about Ballet

Published October 4, 2016

To celebrate World Ballet Day we have compiled a list of some interesting facts about the esteemed dance form, its history and performers.   

1.    Ballet originated in Italy in the 15th century.

Dutch National Ballet's Cinderella (Photo: Angela Sterling)

Dutch National Ballet’s Cinderella (Photo: Angela Sterling)

 

2.    The tip of Pointe shoes is a rigid box made of densely packed layers of fabric and cardboard hardened by glue.

Photo: Madison Keesler of the English National Ballet

Photo: Madison Keesler of the English National Ballet

3.    Women were not allowed to dance in public until 1681, so couldn’t join the ballet!

The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

4.    A male dancer can lift over one to one a half tonnes’ worth of ballerinas during a single performance. That’s the weight of an average car!

Viscera at the Royal Opera House (Photo: Andrej Uspenski)

Viscera at the Royal Opera House (Photo: Andrej Uspenski)

5.    The Royal Ballet was founded in 1931 by Dame Ninette de Valois; it became the resident ballet company of the Royal Opera House in 1946, and was granted a royal charter in 1956.

The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

6.    Most professional dancers wear out two to three ballet shoes a week. Some dancers go through the same amount in a single performance!

The Royal Ballet's Rhapsody (Photo: Johan Persson)

The Royal Ballet’s Rhapsody (Photo: Johan Persson)

7.    The first Ballet to win an Olivier Award was Romeo And Juliet in 1977, performed by the London Festival Ballet at the London Coliseum.

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli star in The Royal Ballet's Romeo And Juliet at the Royal Opera House (Photo: Bill Cooper)

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli star in The Royal Ballet’s Romeo And Juliet at the Royal Opera House (Photo: Bill Cooper)

8.    The amount of energy needed to perform a ballet is about the same as playing two full football matches or running 18 miles.

The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

9.    One tutu can take up to 90 hours of labour to produce – that’s almost 4 days!

The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

10.     Every time a ballet dancer jumps en pointe, three times their body weight is carried on the tip of their big toe.

Dutch National Ballet's Cinderella (Photo: Angela Sterling)

Dutch National Ballet’s Cinderella (Photo: Angela Sterling)